Marathoner Bill Iffrig From Iconic 2013 Boston Marathon Photo Passes At The Age Of 89

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Bill Iffrig, the resilient runner whose iconic image captured the nation’s attention during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, passed away on January 8 at the age of 89.

Iffrig, a masters running national champion and decorated athlete from Lake Stevens, Washington, became a symbol of perseverance after being knocked down by the force of the bombs just steps away from the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. 

In an interview with Runner’s World shortly after the event, he reflected on the moment, saying, “As I fell, I thought: This might be it. This will be the end of me.”

The striking image, captured by John Tlumacki of the Boston Globe, featured Iffrig on the ground in his distinctive electric orange singlet, surrounded by three police officers in fluorescent yellow vests amid the lingering smoke from the explosions.

President Barack Obama, in his address to the nation following the bombings, highlighted Iffrig’s resilience, stating, “Like Bill Iffrig, 78 years old – the runner in the orange tank top whom we all saw get knocked down by the blast – we may be momentarily knocked off our feet. But we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”

Iffrig, known for his humility and hardworking nature, stood up and completed the marathon in a time of 4:03:47, placing him fourth in his age group. 

The photograph went on to become a defining image of the tragedy, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and circulating globally.

Despite the fame thrust upon him by the Boston Marathon bombings, Iffrig remained grounded and continued his passion for running.

Two years later, at the age of 80, he returned to the Boston Marathon in 2015, finishing second in his age group with a time of 4:24:22.

A native of Washington, Iffrig worked as a carpenter for Weyerhaeuser before becoming a brick mason for the Scott Paper Company until his retirement in 1994. Known for his unassuming nature, he built his family home in Lake Stevens, where they lived for 53 years.

Bill Iffrig is survived by his two children, Mark Iffrig and Susan Shepard, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife of 69 years, Donna, passed away in November. 

The 2024 Boston Marathon, set to cover the historic 26.2-mile route, will take place on April 15, marking its 128th edition.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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